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Vanderbilt (Full-Tuition) vs. Northwestern?

COLLWGE1227COLLWGE1227 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
Hi,

My daughter is currently in crunch time trying to decide between two amazing schools - Vanderbilt University and Northwestern University. At Vanderbilt, she has received the Cornelius Vanderbilt Scholarship and we, as a family, would be paying a lot more if she attended Northwestern. She loves both schools, but can't decide whether Northwestern is worth all of that money out of pocket. She wants to study the natural sciences (not sure specifically what yet) and eventually go on to medical school. Any thoughts would be greatly appreciated!
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Replies to: Vanderbilt (Full-Tuition) vs. Northwestern?

  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,949 Senior Member
    No I would not pay the extra money personally or advise my children or friends that either
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,492 Forum Champion
    edited April 2018
    If she loves both I'd go with Vandy. Save the money to help her pay for med school (or anything else she ultimately may decide to do).
  • COLLWGE1227COLLWGE1227 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    @privatebanker @tk21769 @happy1 Thank you all for the responses! It truly means a lot! While she does love both schools, she slightly does prefer Northwestern for the quarter system and the ample amount of opportunities in the greater Chicago area that's a little closer to home. She tells me that she wouldn't mind either one though and thinks student life will be fine wherever she goes. Would you all take into consideration prestige for the "natural sciences" program between the two schools as well?
  • happy1happy1 Forum Champion Parents, Forum Champion Admissions Posts: 24,492 Forum Champion
    I see no meaningful difference in prestige between Northwestern and Vandy.

    If she strongly prefers Northwestern and you can comfortably (no debt, no hardship) manage undergrad as well as med school then by all means go for it. If money is an issue especially with grad school in her future then I'd opt for Vandy in a heartbeat.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,949 Senior Member
    Sorry. I don’t have any insight into that other than what statistics etc can be found online.
  • simba9simba9 Registered User Posts: 3,261 Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    Would you all take into consideration prestige for the "natural sciences" program between the two schools as well?
    No. I know Northwestern is a great school, but I don't really associate it with the natural sciences. Economics and journalism come to mind when I think of Northwestern.

    When I think of Vanderbilt, I think of health sciences first. That's probably because the medical school is such a big part of the campus, and when I visit my daughter in Nashville, there are always stories on the news and advertisements about the Vanderbilt Hospital.
  • COLLWGE1227COLLWGE1227 Registered User Posts: 6 New Member
    Thank you all for the responses so far - your insight truly is so helpful. Anyone else feel free to share their thoughts!
  • prezbuckyprezbucky Registered User Posts: 4,328 Senior Member
    edited April 2018
    Northwestern is stronger overall academically, but not six-figures stronger. The slight differences in quality/prestige are not worth that much money, unless she hated Vandy, loved NU, and you had money to burn.

    In my hair-splitting undergraduate private U tier system, Northwestern is one level above Vandy. One level isn't worth that much money unless, like I said, she is way in favor of NU and you can easily afford the cost difference.

    For perspective, here's where I have them in my hair-splitting, anal-retentive tier system:

    Tier 3:
    Brown
    Cornell
    Dartmouth
    Duke
    Hopkins
    Northwestern

    Tier 4:
    Emory
    Georgetown
    Notre Dame
    Rice
    Vanderbilt
    Washington U

    ... and maybe CMU.

    My tiers are based mainly on academic rep/quality, endowment, and (I'm embarrassed somewhat to say) a small drop of prestige. But mostly it's based on academic rep and quality, as well as i'm able to ascertain. I'm strongly considering replacing prestige with undergraduate focus.
  • JayZee21JayZee21 Registered User Posts: 152 Junior Member
    Choose Vandy!
  • happymomof1happymomof1 Registered User Posts: 29,442 Senior Member
    Can you even pay for Vanderbilt with this scholarship and no loans other than the standard federal student loans? Would your family need to borrow more than that? Start there.

    If Vanderbilt's costs are easy to cover, how about the cost of Northwestern? How secure is your daughter's college fund? Is there the equivalent of four years at Northwestern sitting in a 529 or the like? Or would you need to cobble together the money every year from multiple sources and tighten your belts?

    Provided Vanderbilt is possible without huge strain for the family, this looks pretty much like a no brainer to me. The savings are significant and could go a long way toward helping with the costs of med school or just with helping your daughter launch into life after colege. They also can give your daughter financial freedom while in college to take an unpaid or poorly paid internship that she really likes instead of having to pin down the best payong summer job or part time school year job that she can find.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,949 Senior Member
    If I take prezbucky’s list for fun and honestly reorder it for pure, “country club” prestige - as I call it. Tee shirt bumper sticker etc

    FWIW. New England born and raised. Business executive/Senior client facing banker over 25 years for a global banking giant. Not an academic. Not a journalist or engineer. Not an ad comm or counselor. Not a dr. Not pretty much everything else So this comes with all the biases and lack of knowledge in specific areas outside of industry that entails.

    Brown
    Hopkins (1 if anything medically related)
    Duke
    Cornell
    Tie / Georgetown/Vanderbilt/Northwestern
    ND
    CMU
    Rice
    Wash U.

    Or maybe this is men’s collegiate lacrosse rankings in 2017 :)
  • waitingmomlawaitingmomla Registered User Posts: 257 Junior Member
    Country clubs around here (tri-state area) would put:

    Duke
    Brown
    Hopkins
    Cornell

    Northwestern
    Notre Dame/Vanderbilt/Rice - tie
    Wash U/Georgetown - tie
    CMU

    I guess it's somewhat based on perspective. But looks like most perspectives here illustrate that point that there is not a significant enough difference between Northwestern and Vanderbilt. And the CV scholarship is impressive. So if she loves both schools and plans for med school then take the money and run to Vandy.
  • privatebankerprivatebanker Registered User Posts: 4,949 Senior Member
This discussion has been closed.